Tag Archives: Obama

Living History Once More

Below, I give you an encore post from February 16, 2010 “Living History (or, Spending Valentine’s Day in the Presence of Greatness). I hadn’t met Dabney Montgomery when Barack Obama was inaugurated the first time, which I would imagine would be an unbelievable experience for someone who has lived the life that Mr. Montgomery has. I couldn’t help but think of what Martin Luther King Jr.’s former bodyguard on the Selma march must have thought of this day. 

Dabney Montgomery and Henry L. Smith,
two former Tuskegee Airmen who I met on February 14, 2010.
Photo taken by me. 

“And I stood in the corner and thought, how can I change this situation peacefully? And that thought stayed in the back of my mind for many a month and year.” 

~ Dabney Montgomery, Tuskegee Airman and bodyguard of Martin Luther King Jr., 2/14/2010

Walking into church on Sunday morning, Valentine’s Day, was like taking a walk back in time.

A walk alongside Martin Luther King Jr., en route from Selma to Montgomery.

A walk along the tarmac with the Tuskegee Airmen.

I knew that this particular service, commemorating Black History Month, was on the schedule, but I had forgotten that it was planned for Valentine’s Day. All I knew was that I was in need of a pick me up from the weather and from writing my previous blog post about the killing of Jennifer Daugherty.

And so it was that I found myself in the presence of greatness.

Dabney Montgomery, a Tuskegee Airman and former bodyguard of Martin Luther King Jr.’s, was the guest speaker on Sunday at our Unitarian Universalist congregation. Of the 5,000 Tuskegee Airmen, there are only 280 still alive.

“And you have two of them with you today,” he said, nodding to Henry L. Smith, seated in the audience.

We listened, a rapt audience of nearly 200, as Dabney Montgomery told us about a time where people believed African Americans were incapable of flying a plane, that because the arteries in their brains were shorter than others, they could not be taught such skills.

We walked with him down the tarmac, as he recalled Mrs. Roosevelt (“you remember Mrs. Roosevelt, don’t you?”) demanding to be flown by an African American pilot.

He received an honorable discharge from the Army in 1945, and upon returning home to his hometown of Selma, Alabama, he only had one thing on his mind.

Registering to vote.

We walked with Dabney Montgomery as he went to register to vote, and was told to go around back and enter through the back entrance, as he was handed three separate applications to vote. The applications needed to be filled out by three separate white men who could vouch for his character.

Not only was I black, Mr. Montgomery said by way of explanation, but I “didn’t have enough money in the bank [to vote], didn’t have a house.”

“And I stood in the corner and thought, ‘how I can change this situation peacefully?’ And that thought stayed in the back of my mind for many a month and a year,” he said.

Dabney Montgomery volunteered to be one of Martin Luther King’s bodyguards on the historic Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. We felt the spit from onlookers as the marchers walked by.

“After the march, I took the soles off the shoes I wore,” Dabney Montgomery explained. “You can see them for yourself in the back, there.” 

Several months after that march, The Voter Rights Act of 1965 was signed.

We walked back into the room with Dabney Montgomery as he registered to vote.

“And this time, there was a black woman behind the desk,” he laughed.

And then he turned serious again.

Whatever the situation is, “it can be changed through nonviolence, but you must stand and never give in. Don’t compromise. [We need] nonviolence not only in the schools, but in the home,” he said, referencing recent bullying attacks and the shooting by a professor in Alabama.

“Nonviolence is a must if we are to survive,” Dabney Montgomery concluded.

We’ll walk hand in hand someday …” we sang, as the closing hymn, and as we joined hands and I reached for the African-American man’s hand next to me, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. (I hate crying in public, but in this case, I wasn’t alone.)

Afterward, I was chatting with people I hadn’t seen in months as Betty rushed through the door. 

“Look, Mommy, they have cake!” she exclaimed, pointing to the refreshments.

“We can have cake,” I said, “But first, there’s somebody who I want you to meet.” 

I told Betty that I wanted her to shake this man’s hand and thank him for his service to our country. That she would understand why when she was older.

We approached the throng of people surrounding Dabney Montgomery, taking photos with him as if he was a movie star. He welcomed all of this, even basked in the attention. 

What does one say to such a hero? I thought.

“Your words were so inspiring,” I said. “Thank you for your service to our country. It is a real pleasure and honor to meet you.” 

“Thank you,” Mr. Montgomery replied. A former ballet student, he bent down and shook Betty’s outstretched hand. And then, we all ate cake. 

I went to church on Sunday seeking a spiritual boost. 

But what I got was so much more.

“Hey, so many things I never thought I’d see
Happening right in front of me
I had a friend in school
Running back on a football team
They burned a cross in his front yard
For asking out the home coming queen
I thought about him today
And everybody who’s seen what he’s seen
From a woman on a bus
To a man with a dream
Hey, wake up Martin Luther
Welcome to the future
Hey, glory, glory, hallelujah
Welcome to the future …”
“Welcome to the Future” ~ Brad Paisley

photos and text (except for Brad Paisley lyrics) copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Play It Again, Bill

My Facebook status this morning:

“Two days later, I’m still going on about the Bill Clinton speech, how wonderful it was, etc. My Husband’s reply? “Jesus, this is the longest orgasm you’ve ever had.”

I adore Bill Clinton.

(You probably figured that out by now, as my politics ’round here aren’t really much of a secret.)

I adore Bill Clinton (my husband isn’t too bad either) and I always have and I probably always will. Back in the day, The Husband and I stuffed envelopes for Bubba’s campaign; we dressed up as Bill and Hill during an Election Night party; we braved the bitter cold in Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day 1993 just to say we were there.

I love him.

I know, I know … the guy has his faults and plenty of them. Don’t we all.

A saint he ain’t.

Say what you want about Bill Clinton. At this point, people either love the guy or not; he’s not changing any minds after all this time, after all the scandals and the headlines, after all of these years.

But that speech Wednesday night….damn.

The guy is good. So damn good.

I mean, did you SEE that? Did you see what he did up there?

My husband, the presidential scholar (really), has yet to watch Clinton’s speech – or any of the speeches made at the Democratic National Convention, so all he has to go on is what he’s read in the papers and what his swooning political junkie of a wife is raving about. (The DNC was the equivalent of the Super Bowl for me. Thank God we have an out-of-town trip this weekend to distract us because otherwise, I’d be going through major withdrawal. I could watch this every night. I want the Biden-Ryan debates to start RIGHT. NOW.)

I digress. Back to Bill.

While I tried to capture in words to The Husband why this speech was so powerful, I realized Bill Clinton did something Wednesday night that was so desperately needed – not just by the Obama campaign (because, make no mistake, he was needed by them) – but by those of us who lived through the early days of the Clinton administration and who remember what that time was like.

On Wednesday night, for 48 minutes, we got a reminder.

We have short memories. We think that whatever we’re going through right now is the worst it has ever been.

That’s an easy place for me to go to these days. The housing crisis took our entire life savings, everything we worked for over the past 20 years. I’m approaching that point in my job search now where I’m starting to get a little scared and entry-level positions are next on the application list for this overqualified person with 20 years experience in the field. For me, the past 3 months have been the longest I’ve been without a job since I started working at age 15. From what people tell me, I’m doing everything right, this was such a hard decision, I’ll definitely find something soon ….

I’ve been giving serious thought to the idea of starting a business. Part of me has already launched the damn thing and the other part is scared to death to do so. We need some money coming in on my end. It’s hard to be optimistic. It’s hard to believe.

Sometimes you need a little help.

We needed a reminder that we went through tough times before – in our lifetime, not in the black and white photos of the Great Depression that people of my generation never lived through.

And I think people in situations like mine, I think we needed a reminder of what Bill Clinton personally went through too.

They don’t call Bill Clinton the Comeback Kid for no reason. I mean, this is a guy who was IMPEACHED. To have him associated with your campaign in such a way would have once been unthinkable, political kryptonite.

You would have never known that on Wednesday night.

But when he says he believes with all his heart that things will get better, you want to buy what he’s selling, even if you have to use your last dime of your unemployment check to do so.

Bill Clinton made me believe in tomorrow again, if only for a night.

I’m betting he made a few of you believe you could be Comeback Kids, too.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Political Internet Safety (a cartoon by Boo)

One never knows what treasures will be found at the bottom of a backpack at school year’s end. Not to mention, how timely they will be in relation to certain politically-related items in the news. According to Boo, he had some free time in the computer lab a few months ago, which led to the creation of this political comic strip on Internet Safety.

In case you can’t read it, the pirate (upper right) says, “I am a mean nasty pirate and I think you should email someone online. I done it with me pirate crew. This girl pirate named Jill once told me if you give personal information you’ll be the richest person in the 7 seas. So listen to me!!!”
Barack Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr. don’t think that’s such a good idea.
“Thank you, I, Barack Obama, think you shouldn’t give information about your phone number to someone you met on the Internet.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. agrees.  “I, Martin Luther King, agree with Mr. Obama.  It is very rude to give out personal info without your safe side adult.  One more thing, use your Netsmarts!”
And in regard to the diaper-clad baby in the upper left corner … well, I’m not exactly sure who the “a word from this man, oh sorry” baby is supposed to be. I can, however, think of one underwear-clad politician caught in a similar such comprising position who wasn’t thinking with his Netsmarts. 

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Cousin Joey Goes to The White House Today! (Yes. THE White House.)

It’s a proud day for our family. 

This morning, our cousin Joey has a meeting at The White House – yes, The White House.  As a Student Ambassador for GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), he’s bringing his personal story of bullying and his message of change right to President Obama himself.  He and others (including his mom, who introduced me and my husband) are part of today’s White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.

For those who are new readers to the blog, Joey is actually my husband’s cousin’s son … but we’re all cousins in this family, regardless of whether we’re related by marriage (like me) or blood (like the husband).  We only deal in seconds and thirds when it comes to food, and we’re only removed geographically (although Facebook helps with that).

I’ve written about Joey and his story of extreme, horrific bullying (because he is gay, because at 16 he is living his life out loud) here on several occasions (“Be the Change,” “One More, In the Name of Love“).  He is an extraordinary, compassionate, and brave young man. 

You can watch the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention live at www.whitehouse.gov/live.  I believe it begins at 10:35 a.m., but the White House site has the details. 

We’re already incredibly proud of you, Joey, today and every day.  We love you and we always will.   

Now, go rock the House.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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A President’s Day Book Review: Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime  (audiobook)
by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
14.75 hours 
Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris

“This shit would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.” 
 Barack Obama, September 2008 

I’m a bit of a political junkie. I find the personalities and the inner workings of politics fascinating, even though the closest I’ve ever come to being on the inside of any political campaign was a) when The Husband was running for Township Commissioner and b) when we helped out Bill Clinton’s ’92 campaign one evening by stuffing envelopes. 

(While doing so, our group gathered ’round the television – yes, back in the day people actually did such a thing as gather ’round the television for must-see-TV – to watch the ’92-’93 season premiere of “Murphy Brown.” Political junkies like myself will recall that this episode was historic: titled “You Say Potatoe, I Say Potato,” it was in response to Dan Quayle’s remarks on the fictitious Murphy choosing to have a baby as a single mother.  Ah, yes, the early ’90s.  Those were the days.)

Nearly 20 years later, both Clintons are still around and featured prominently (along with Obama, Edwards, McCain, and Palin) in Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s book that gives an eye-opening and detailed look at the 2008 presidential election campaign.

If any presidential campaign was made for political junkies, this one was it. 

But here’s the thing:  if you are into this stuff, regardless of who you supported or what party you affiliate with, chances are you’ve probably read other such chronicles about the 2008 campaign or heard tidbits from the book in various news clips.

Among the books I read in 2010 (and very much liked) were David Plouffe’s The Audacity to Win  and Anne Kornblut’s Notes from a Cracked Ceiling  (Links take you to my reviews.) That meant that, while I really liked Game Change, I had already read or heard of many of the more notable instances. 

That doesn’t mean Game Change wasn’t without its juicy moments. There are certainly enough of those. It’s just different than the Plouffe or Kornblut books because Game Change encompasses all the major players, rather than focusing in on just one or a few. (Although it did seem like Obama and Hillary got a bit more ink than McCain and Palin … not like I’m complaining about that.)

With all of them (with the exception of Palin), the first thing I noticed about each one of the candidates was their language. Now, I’m not a prude and I’ve certainly been known to drop a well-placed f-bomb on several an occasion. But for all the brou-ha-ha that was made about Joe Biden’s “big fucking deal” comment, that practically pales in comparison to what Obama, Hillary, Edwards, and McCain (especially McCain) seem to utter on an hourly basis. Yeah, I know the man should have been more … I don’t know, less Joe? given a live mike, but he who lives in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and all that.

So, suffice it to say that he word fuck is used quite often in this book and if that’s offensive to you, you’ll probably want to refrain from reading this one. And if you’re listening on audio, as I was, it’s probably not the best audio to have playing in the car as a quick political science lesson for the younger set.

It is, however, a lesson in a look into the world of political campaigning on the presidential scale.
Having read the Plouffe book, there wasn’t much about Obama that was revealed in Game Change that I didn’t know or that was surprising.  But there were some intriguing revelations (spoilers ahead!) about the other characters, such as:

  • Hillary Clinton forming a covert Presidential transition team even before the Iowa primaries were over.
  • Chelsea Clinton was involved in more strategy and decision making with her mother’s campaign than I realized.
  • Elizabeth Edwards berating John’s campaign staff, even telling them at one point that until they (John and Elizabeth) had their new health insurance, then nobody was getting health insurance.
  • Elizabeth Edwards regularly calling John a monster, and a fight between the couple in an airport that had her ripping off her blouse.
  • John Edwards’s crowing, “They loooovvvvvvvvvvvvve  me!”  (I guess this isn’t much of a surprise.)
  • McCain and staffers gleefully watching and laughing at a YouTube video of John Edwards preening over his hair, and playing the video over and over again
  • Sarah Palin’s catatonic-like breakdown during debate preparations, sitting in a hotel with half-eaten meals strewn about and hundreds of index cards with facts written on them (like flash cards), and her handlers having to educate her on everything from the Spanish Civil War to the situation in Iraq, to who the various news personalities were and how to pronounce nuclear. 

Now, I know Game Change‘s critics say that the interviews and unnamed sources are disgruntled campaign employees and aides, and maybe they are and maybe they aren’t.  Whatever.  The point is, most of these instances do sound somewhat plausible, don’t they? 

As I mentioned, I listened to this on audio and loved the narration by Dennis Boutsikaris.  He has the perfect voice for this one – a wonderful combination of egomania, smugness, suspense, and drama that was so very much a part of the 2008 presidential campaign.  I really liked Boutsikaris’s narration in Anita Shreve’s All I Ever Wanted so I was glad to have the opportunity to listen to him again.  My only quibble with the narration was the mispronunciation of Malia Obama’s name.  Bousikaris kept saying “MAHL-yuh” instead of “mah-LEE-uh” (of which I believe the latter is the correct version), and that kind of irked me.  But, that’s only on a few occasions in the book so it is forgivable.  The audiobook definitely held my attention and was actually a great listen for me since the material was familiar. 

If you’re a political junkie like me, Game Change offers a very good glimpse of the wild and crazy ride that was the 2008 presidential campaign and the various Mr. (and Mrs.) Toads that were driving the cars.  Just know that if you’ve read other similar books (like the ones by Plouffe or Kornblut), that you’ll probably be in for some repetition here.  But if you haven’t, then Game Change would be a good one to start with. 

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Inauguration Day

It’s been seven years today.

Seven years since we pulled out of the driveway, my mother and Betty waving to us from the living room window.

Seven years since we buckled Boo into his car seat and headed to the hospital.

Seven years since we sat in a too small room with no toys, carrying a diaper bag without enough distractions and snacks for three hours. 

Seven years since an intern peppered us with questions for most of those three excruciating hours, as our boy played with a toy car, as the specialist swooped in for the last five minutes of those 3 hours and frowned at him. 

Seven years since we heard the words “your son has clinical features of autism spectrum disorder” and “I knew that would be the case just looking at your questionnaire.”  (Never mind looking at the child.)

Seven years since we felt our hearts break, in the same hospital where my infant cousin died following heart surgery. 

All the king’s horses and all the king’s specialists couldn’t put any of us back together again. 

To me, January 20 will always be diagnosis day.  But more often than not, it often carries with it an inauguration, of a Governor or a President.  

I’ve always thought the anniversary of Boo’s autism diagnosis day and inaugurations is a little bit ironic. The Husband is a presidential scholar, has an advanced degree in the study of the American Presidency.  It was once a calling academically (although not politically, albeit briefly on the local level, despite what some may have thought.) 

Like father like son, one of Boo’s first intense interests was, indeed, the American Presidents.  The Husband had bought a deck of Presidential flash cards from the National Constitution Center and showed them to Boo, never expecting that at 2 years old he would recite them, in order, along with their Vice Presidents and their political party.  History repeated itself at family gatherings, as Boo would be asked to recite facts about Millard Fillmore just as his father did at the same age. 

Inauguration Day is one with much promise, of abundant hope, just as it was 50 years ago today when the country welcomed President John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961, with promises of New Frontiers and Camelot.

And hope prevailed again, on January 20, 1993, when we braved the bitter cold to be among the throng of people in Washington D.C. for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.  And never moreso was hope in the air than it was two years ago, on January 20, 2009, when President Obama was inaugurated.

Yet hope was nowhere to be found in a cramped examination room on January 20, 2004, as our questions went unanswered, as we took a badly-photocopied article about the signs of autism, as we collapsed in tears and blinked in disbelief when asked to decide (not at this moment, you have time, but not much) on a therapeutic course of action before the proverbial guillotined window of time would slam shut on our 2 year old’s blond head.

And yet, while the memory and heartbreak of this day never quite disappears, and I find myself replaying the moments of the day this is when we left this is when she told us this is when we came back home, I try to look at our January 20 as more of an Inauguration Day. 

Some years, that’s much easier to do than others.

Today I find myself trying even moreso to grasp that gold ring of possibility that Inauguration Day brings. I find myself reflecting more than usual on all of Boo’s accomplishments (and indeed, he has accomplished so much more than we ever imagined during our breakdown and the Black Hole era of seven years ago). 

I watched him this morning, on the computer laughing at a Saturday Night Live skit on YouTube (and reminding him and his still-present echolalia not to repeat a phrase at school). He’ll go off to before care this morning, board a school bus, disembark and head toward his mainstreamed third grade classroom, make it through the day, play with E. and D. and J. at recess, board the bus again. On the days when I drop him off at school, it never gets old watching him hoist his backpack, cross the street with the crossing guard’s assistance, and walk into his elementary school. 

I hold all these things close, every Inauguration Day and every other day.  And at the same time, I often feel caught betwixt and between, as is the case this year.

Inauguration Day 2011 comes at a time when we are caught betwixt and between so many things.  We’re betwixt and between therapies, having made the decision to stop the social skills group therapy that is bankrupting us, barely reimbursed by insurance, and – we have finally admitted – giving us more satisfaction that we were doing something for him as opposed to change we can see (much less believe in).  We don’t know what’s next, therapy-wise.  We are headed into the unknown, in more ways than one. 

And so there is even more reason than ever to embrace (through the pain and the sadness, through the fear and the unknown) January 20 for what it is, now and always, no more and no less.

The inauguration of new beginnings, of pioneering our New Frontier, of the possibility and promise of putting a man on the moon or discovering life on Mars.

Of the possibilities and promise and potential of another year ahead.

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Make It Count

In the hours between the dark and the dawn, the dreams came, tumbling over one another as they are wont to do.

I was sitting outside with coworkers, watching shooting stars after attending a memorial service for a child abuse victim.

‘I should be watching these with my kids,’ I said, getting up to leave.

As I did, it started to rain – pounding, heavy rain, monsoonlike.  I needed to get to my car, parked in the same spot I parked every day for four years when I worked at a residential facility for kids and adults with disabilities.  The car was submerged; floating around it were kids, some alive, some dead.

And as soon as the waters parted and I got to the safety of my car, there was the piercing shrill of an ambulance.  My daughter was bleeding – I couldn’t get to her in time – the ambulance was having difficulty getting through traffic and eventually went to the wrong place. The bleeding stopped; I held her, and for a moment, all was calm. 

I woke up.

I woke up this morning remembering that I’d forgotten to do Betty’s weekly school assignment – The Letter Home. Each Friday, the kids write a letter home to their parents and we are to respond over the weekend, returning the letter on Monday morning.  Most parents forget; I’ve been known to do so more often than I care to admit, but more often than not, I write a missive.  I’m the only parent, Betty says proudly, who routinely fills up the entire alloted space.

Sometimes its hard to know what to write.  Sometimes I repeat myself and what’s happened during the week.  But today at 6:35 a.m., on the heels of this weekend’s heartbreak and tragedy, I wanted to make this letter home count more than the others. 

So I wrote – about how proud I was of her trying to save the orcas, doing well in school, working hard at home. 

I wiped away tears, not allowing myself to go there with the what if’s … what if this is the last Letter Home, what if this is the last time I will be able to tell her these things, what if there is a crazed maniac at school today, whatifwhatifwhatif

* * *
It doesn’t take Freud or any more therapy than I’ve already had to figure out the cause of my dreams.  This weekend’s attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others, including 9 year old Christina Taylor Green, have been – obviously –  very much on my mind. 

Because although I didn’t know her, there is so much about Christina that is heartbreakingly familiar in looks, in age, in personality.  I have an aspiring 9 year old veterinarian/orca trainer/saver of the world in my house. 

I have a girl who loves to dance and sing. 

I have a child who is interested in politics. 

I have a child who was star-struck to meet our then-Congressman at our State Fair. 

I have an image and a photograph of my child, so excited and so very proud to meet our Congressman, seared into my mind.

A Congressman who would, a few short weeks later, go on to be the target of those on the extreme right, see his reputation tarnished, his distingished decades-long career abruptly ended as he become the victim of a hatriolic, spiked-by-tea, bitter political campaign the likes of which my little state had never seen. 

A Congressman who my child wanted to invite to his 9 year old birthday party, who my child still idolizes, who made an appearance this weekend in our family room as a Mii on our Wii playing bi-partisan basketball with Barack Obama, Michael Jackson, John McCain, SpongeBob, Martin Luther King Jr., Snoop Dogg, John and Bobby Kennedy, and a posse of 3rd graders. 

There’s all that, and there’s the Philadelphia connection to the Arizona tragedy (for when you win us a sports championship in this city, you become family, a named beneficiary in the Will), and then at the end of all that?

Then there is the utter helplessness, the disbelief, the shock and the anger.

* * *
The screams came from upstairs this morning as I was ending the Letter Home.  I have enough parenting-know-how under my belt to know what is sheer drama versus bleeding so profusely that an ambulance is needed variety.  This was the former, thankfully.  I signed the Letter Home Love, Mommy.

Upstairs, a big tangled knot in her long brown hair had reduced Betty to a sobbing mess.  At 9, she has the sheer confidence and passion and belief that she can and will save every orca on the planet – and yet all it takes is one bad hair day to become the catalyst for self-hatred and an explosive temper reminiscent of my own tween self. 

So I brushed as she cried. As strands of hair broke, she yelled and screamed some more. More yelling, more stomping, more angst, more declarations that I was making her bald, more dramatic utterances of her favorite phrase:  “What is WITH parents these days?!!” 

At these hair-raising moments, I always think back to my own battles with my own mother.  Her putting my hair in curlers at night, her spraying No More Tangles on my long brown locks.  How did she do this?  I think. How did she do all of it?

There is a mom in Arizona who, because of a madman and the politically-charged climate in this country, will not get to brush her 9 year old daughter’s brown hair again. 

There is a mom in Arizona – and in every other state in our nation – who, because of someone’s act of violence and the fate of being in the wrong place at the wrong time will not be able to hold her child as I did after the storms of this morning, to tell her it is only hair, that hair grows back, you’ll see.  Moms know these things. 

And there is a mom in Arizona who will not look at today’s magnificant pink and orange tinged sky as the sun bursts forth, holding her whimpering child tight and saying, “You see? We almost missed this.  You don’t want to miss this.”

I don’t want to miss this. 

And that’s what I’m holding onto this morning, in the midst of the storms and the tangled knots of our lives. Amidst the unpredictability and the uncertainty of this world, amidst the crazies and the kooks. 

I’m holding onto the belief that all I can do, all any of us can do, is to try to make it better.

To say what we need to say, and do what we need to do.

To untangle the knots as best as we know how.

To make this life and those we care about matter.

To make it count. 

All of it.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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